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Kathryn Hulme
Kathryn Hulme
n.d.
Kathryn Hulme Papers

 

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Writer Kathryn Hulme made significant contributions to the humanitarian efforts in Europe after World War II as an administrator with the United Nations Relief and Refugee Agency (UNRRA); she wrote a number of books exploring life during and after the war, including The Wild Place (1953), which was described as “an unforgettable report on the struggle, the plight, the defeat or the eventual redemption of countless victims of the time.”1 While she was working with displaced persons in Europe, Hulme met Marie-Louise Habets, who became Hulme’s inspiration for The Nun’s Story (1956), a fictionalization of the former nun’s life. A tremendous critical and popular success, The Nun’s Story was adapted into a Hollywood film starring Audrey Hepburn in 1959. Though she was best known during her lifetime for this remarkably successful book, Hulme was more than a one-novel writer; she was the author of nine well-received books of fiction and nonfiction, some of which earned national awards and recognition. For a time, Hulme considered writing her own autobiography. In a letter to her editor, she noted one motivation for the project: “a half century of a woman’s life in a century when women like me, childless, husbandless, outside the conforming norm, might, just might be news of a sort.”2

1 George N. Shuster, “They Never Went Home,” New York Times, 1 Nov. 1953.
2 Kathryn Hulme to Beatrice Baumgarten Cozzens, 24 Apr. 1961. Kathryn Hulme Papers.

 

 

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